NEWS that 30 minutes’ free parking is being offered in all council-run car parks in Falmouth and Penryn for the next seven weeks has been welcomed in the hope it will encourage more people into the town centres.

The offer begins on Saturday and runs until April 20 and is being made by Cornwall Council in response to calls from some local businesses for a free first half hour of parking to allow people to make “flying visits” to shop or use facilities.

The council will monitor the response to assess how much demand there is for free half hour parking, which is being offered across the county, and where that demand is greatest.

Falmouth’s town manager, Richard Gates, said: “It is a really positive step in the right direction, particularly for the local community, but we need to get the message out there that it is available.

“It is encouraging because you always hear about Cornwall Council price increases and this will be useful for those just popping into town for a short visit.”

There is a condition attached to the free parking and that is that anyone wanting to make use of it, at any time of day, must use the RingGo mobile phone payment service.

Although this system is “very easy to use,” first time users will be required to provide some initial information and so they may find it easier to register online at

While there will be no cost for the first half hour of parking, anyone who wants to have a text message sent to them to remind them of when the parking session is over or if they want to extend the parking session, will be charged for that message and any additional parking.

Details of these charges will be available on the tariff boards in the car parks or via the RingGo phone line.

The free half hour parking is the latest in a series of car parking trials which are currently being implemented by Cornwall Council.

These include reduced season ticket charges and the halving of the evening charge after 5pm in Falmouth’s car parks to £1.